Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Chu-lan (¸µâÄõ) departs today to the US and Japan on a fact-finding trip during which she will spend almost a third of her time in Las Vegas to study the development of tourism alongside the ring of the roulette wheels.
While spending three days of her 11-day itinerary in Las Vegas, Yeh will visit the Lake Las Vegas Resort, visit a casino and hold discussions with members of the local industry regarding tourism there, according to the ministry.
The visit is hoped to provide the minister with some international perspectives on promoting the tourism industry, which has been tapped by the government as a major vehicle to stimulate economic growth.
The minister’s focus on Las Vegas reveals the government’s continuing interest in developing casinos Togel in Taiwan’s tourist areas to boost an industry still lagging from the impact of 1999’s massive earthquake despite public reservations about legalizing gambling.
However, Yeh told reporters yesterday morning that “until gambling is legalized in Taiwan, her ministry could not advocate establishing casinos in tourist areas,” according to the Central News Agency.
Even though the government is yet to make a decision on legalized gambling and the establishment of casinos, interest in establishing a casino on the outlying Penghu islands has peaked this year.
The MGM Mirage and the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino from Las Vegas and Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd (PBL) from Australia — and owned by big time gambler Kerry Packer — have approached local Penghu authorities about investing in a casino on the small island.
Yeh will also meet with the head of Nevada’s tourism bureau Bruce Bommarito with whom she will discuss the development of Taiwan’s US$500 million Tapeng Bay (¤jÄPÆW) resort area project in Pingtung County.
Like the Lake Las Vegas Resort, which is set upon nearly 16km of shoreline around the the 130-hectare Lake Las Vegas, Tapeng is hoped to be a water resort of international standard nestled on the coast of southern Taiwan, according to the ministry.
The US$500 million project is planned to be completed under a build-operate-transfer structure with the involvement of international corporations, said the ministry. The remainder of her time will be spent meeting with tourism authorities in San Francisco, Hawaii and Japan to learn about the local tourism industries there and attempt to drum up interest in investing in the Tapeng Bay project.
Yeh is scheduled to return to Taiwan on Aug. 21.